One school district changed the standard in Professional Development; and they did it with a ‘Technology Academy.’
Imagine you need to learn how to fly a jet. You’re given a link that describes how and an online video tutorial…nervous? Now imagine you’re being taught by a fighter pilot in a small class, and that class is with your peers. The course runs for weeks and includes experience from other teachers who now fly jets and were once like you. Little less nervous? Welcome to one district’s Technology Academy for teacher training.
Though it’s not a likely chance that any teachers are also pilots at Garnet Valley School District in Penn., for many teachers in schools across the country, the thought of knowing how to effectively use technology in classrooms is still an intimidating concept.
According to Paul Sanfrancesco, director of technology for the district, many teachers see technology as something that’s being pushed onto them. But once teachers learn the true value of education technology, the mindset can quickly change.
“The more you link the technology to the curriculum, the easier teachers find it—the less scary it will become—because it’s less of a foreign object and more a tool to help them instruct,” Sanfrancesco explained.
The problem for Garnet Valley was how to train teachers effectively in education technology without additional funds. Another concern was what to train teachers to use, since technology is constantly changing.
(Next page: Where to start?)